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Another Monday Medley

This morning I had my five-weekly hair appointment in Totnes.  I didn’t take the photo above this morning – it is a summer-time shot – but if I had managed to stop the car on the old bridge over the River Dart, this is the view I would’ve taken – not the main River Dart, but a small ‘cut’ where some boats are moored with, in the distance, old warehouses now transformed into living accommodation.

The hair salon I visit is not far away – it is on the corner of a little lane (centre of photo, above) and if I stand in the doorway of the salon in summer, this is the view towards an area known as the Plains (because it’s flat, I suppose!)


Next to the salon there is a cafe and this has table and chairs outside in summer.  The leather sofa in the salon was dispatched a year or two ago, and in its place is now an upholstered sofa, much more feminine I think.

I hope you will excuse my having used these photos before, regular readers might even remember them, but perhaps new readers might like to see them.  But while there is a new sofa, the salon itself is the same as ever, and very smart it is, too.

About three times a year, sometimes four, my short silver hair needs highlighting to prevent it looking more like tarnished silver than sparkling polished silver.  I don’t care for the tarnished look and the highlights were done this morning.

Here I am, having just returned from the hair salon and not even having removed my red quilted coat.  I love this red jacket and I was wearing a red jumper under it and my charity shop ‘find’, a Jaeger heavy silk scarf.  Who could possibly have not wanted such a wonderful scarf?  Yes, a traditional design rather than anything quirky, but in dark red, white and blue it’s just the thing for my jacket and indigo jeans (sadly creased from having been sitting in the car, driving, and sitting in the salon for 2 hours.)

I’m not good at taking selfies as I don’t have a smart phone, only my compact camera and I look like I’m  cross-eyed through my reading glasses so I must assure you I’m not.  But you can see the freshly highlighted hair here.  Yes, it has a blue look to it. This is the prevent-it-being-brassy toner and will wash out with a couple of washes, but I quite like it. Anything rather than brassy blonde.

So that was my morning.

When I came home I re-heated half of the venison casserole I made yesterday (the other half is now in the freezer for another meal sometime) and we had that with new potatoes and peas, and then an individual apple crumble each with cream.  I had added some mincemeat with amoretto to the stewed apples, a jar I’d had in the larder for over a year but it was still perfectly edible.

And now to something completely different (as they used to say on Monty Python, for those who can remember the 1960s/1970s comedy series.)

Brown furniture is back in fashion!  Well it is according to yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph.  A long time in the wilderness, furniture made from mahogany, oak, ash and walnut (as well as other woods) is now being to sell again.  For some of us (ourselves here included) it has never been out of fashion!  Who in their right mind would want some painted stuff, ‘knocked’ back to look old, if they had the chance to have polished mahogany or oak?  Well, lots of people it would appear if you look at IG photos, or the plethora of look-alike homes in the style magazines.  I’ve nothing against some items of painted furniture – we have a couple ourselves, although they’ve certainly not been fashionably ‘distressed’ – but oh, how I love polished wood.

Anyway, there were three whole pages on the subject of brown furniture in yesterday’s paper:  how it’s ‘green’ to upcycle; how to go about buying brown furniture (inspect the dovetail joints as nails or screws instead of joints means that a piece is probably post-1920s); not buying for investment (it says) but leaving that to the professionals; not to worry about small surface cracks but not to buy a chair with one leg sticking out as having things restored can be difficult and expensive as (it says) restorers are as rare as unicorns. Or so the article said.

I inherited some pieces of brown furniture, and one I really like is a mahogany card table which we have permanently folded and use as a side console table in the sitting room.

This photo was taken a few years ago because now there’s a pile of books under this table, but at least it’s a tidy pile and not in anyone’s way.

And occasionally we pull out our dining table and lay it for a family meal; as there usually just the two of us here for meals, we tend to eat in the kitchen and our dining table is used as a sofa table.    The table is a modern one which we bought in 1986, it’s burr ash, but it’s a traditional style.

And finally, in this medley, just a humble bunch of daffodils on the kitchen table.  How bright and cheerful they look, even though today didn’t need very much cheering up as it’s been bright and sunny.

And now to think about supper, only something light this evening after a two-course main meal at lunchtime. Not sure yet, but maybe if I open the fridge and the larder inspiration might strike!

Until next time.

About Margaret

Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. You are looking sharp, Margaret!! Love what you’re wearing, plus your hands look beautiful w/that mani.

    I’ve been reading about the “come-back” of brown furniture too. I enjoy painting furniture now and then, and I confess I regret a piece or two that I painted. Wish I had left it natural now. I can think of a few pieces that are in the attic – lucky little things survived decluttering AND my paintbrush, ha ha. So I will bring them down and polish away.

    I am waiting (im)patiently for my new English Home magazine to arrive.

    • Margaret

      Years ago, when we lived in our previous home, my mother gave us a table which a neighbour had given her. We used it in our bedroom as a TV table. But before we used it, husband painted it. Not one of the lovely chalk paints that are used today, but gloss white, as was so popular in the 1970s.
      Years later, for our 25th wedding anniversary, we took the table to a furniture restorer who removed the paint and, with a pin, even got all the white paint out of the grooves. It is now a lovely polished oak table and lives in the summerhouse as it’s just the right size to fit between our two chairs out there. Hoe lovely to have some pieces that didn’t suffer painting, ha ha! We have a brass tray table in the loft and I keep asking husband to get it down, I think it’s due for a new lease of life. It could even go in the summerhouse and then the oak table could come back into our home!
      Thank you for your kind comments re my appearance. I love the red jacket and also the antique gold one. Perhaps I should put that on and take a picture!
      Oh, I’ve had thought that the new copy of The English Home would’ve arrived by now, Kay. That seems a long time to wait. Received mine last week.

  2. Ah I recognise where your hairdresser is Margaret, I like Totnes. Some of my ancestors came from Bridgetown so I always like a wander round the area. There’s a nice cheese shop nearby isn’t there? Totnes has some hidden delights! I’m off to the hairdresser, just a wander down to our local salon and catch up on news no doubt.
    We once bought a house where all the lovely old furniture had been left for us to buy if we wanted it, we couldn’t afford to buy any so it all went off to a local sale and I still think about the bits we would have liked. However we knew the house had to be renovated and we needed to clear spaces get at floorboards etc. Since then we’ve always had a mixture of old and new but I still hanker after a nice Canterbury and a big linen press and other items I would have loved to own. ⏲

    • Margaret

      My goodness, Heather, ancestors from Bridgetown, they are almost local to us then! Oh, the cheese shop in Ticklemore Street (lovely name) is great. Enjoy your visit to your hairdresser – I presume for a trim as well as an exchange of goss? Oh, a Canterbury would be lovely. I’ve always wanted a Davenport, a lovely piano-top kind with a little galleried top and drawers down the side. But I’d have no where to put it (I’m sure I’d find somewhere, though!!!)

  3. I’d be very pleased if brown furniture makes a come back as mine is all mahogany (coloured) and a few new occasional tables would be very useful indeed. Good news indeed, thank you.

    • Margaret

      Mahogany is a wonderful wood, Joy. So hard it was being imported just as the great cabinet makers were around, Chippendale, Sheraton, etc. It wouldn’t have been possible to make fine pieces from oak. Our first bedroom suite was Stag Minstrel which was cherry mahogany and we loved it. I wish we had it now.

  4. Over the last few years we’ve managed to buy (second hand) an Ercol 4 piece suite in dark elm and a matching corner display cabinet, plus a matching table trolley, all for our sitting room. We’ve also bought a blonde 3 door display cabinet/sideboard and 8 matching dining chairs for our dining room.
    We love the traditional Ercol ranges and are hoping to buy an Ercol extending dining table this year.
    We have inexpensive pine furniture in our bedroom and although it would be lovely to have oak furniture in there, we are grateful for what we have. (I’ll still be watching ebay though! 😉 )

    • Margaret

      I have a dear friend who bought Ercol when she and her husband married over 54 years ago (same year as ourselves) and they still have it, and it’s still beautiful! I don’t thin flat pack would last as long. Buying antiques or, in the case of old Ercol, collectibles, they have already stood the test of time; you know they will always look good and you will be rewarded by their good looks and durability. We have wall-to-wall fitted wardrobes in our bedroom, and our Stag Minstrel tallboy has been cut down to dressing table height and painted, along with our bedside chests of drawers but only because they needed painting. Our bedroom here was too small for our Stag furniture and so we had to change some things. I still miss the lovely suite of cherry mahogany and my beautiful dressing table.

  5. Looking so glam, Margaret. Lovely photos (of you). The red jacket looks fabulous.
    Oh Stag Minstrel…I remember it c1980 I think. I had an original Victorian dressing table and wardrobes which was beautiful, and furniture of a similar era throughout the house but I did have a soft spot for the Minstrel.
    I changed all my dark oak for light oak a few years ago as I wanted to lighten the entire look of the house. I gave it away as no one was interested in buying, so I’m interested to hear that it’s coming back into vogue.

  6. I’ve always liked the brown furniture, too, and don’t mind being thought of as unfashionable. I have a dressing table which was part of a set (with double bed and small wardrobe) which belonged to my great grandparents. I have no idea of the wood or veneer. It was probably bought in the late 1950s or 1960s. I became its happy owner in 1990 as no one else in the family wanted it. Lucky for me ! I also have a sideboard which sits in our dining area. I have no idea of the wood or the time it was made. It was given to my mother when I was bout 14 or 15 yo then came to my home when I was about 22 or 23, so we’re old friends. It has three drawers in the middle and a cupboard door on either side so is great for storage as well as display along the top. As I’ve mentioned before I’m more than happy to buy/accept used furniture as I believe it’s often better made than new stuff, can have more ‘character’ (and memories) and I hate how as a society we send so much to landfill.

    Your hair looks lovely. Very chic. I love your red jacket and the rest of your ensemble. We’ve had another day of over 33deg.C. I’m looking forward to the weather cooling so I can wear sleeves again 😉

    • Margaret

      How lovely to still have the furniture in use that your great grandparents used. That is lovely, Lara. And sideboards are such useful pieces of furniture. They literally started life in early times as a board at the side of the main table, so there would be somewhere else to put food and crockery, and once the early turbulent centuries gave way to the relative stablity of the Elizabethan period, the board on the side developed into a real cupboard.
      Thank you for your kind remarks about my hair and my red jacket. 33C sounds horrendous. Here, it’s still cold enough for a jacket but the sun is shining and it’s a lovely day, temperatures are gradually rising.

  7. You look lovely in the selfie, Mrs Powling. One more in your antique gold jacket would be really nice 😀

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